Accenture, which was recently named a SPL Pioneer by Working Families in recognition of its enhanced SPL policies, will be following the journeys of some of its first male employees to take up the shared parental leave.
“We will profile some of these men as they go on their parental leave and as they return to try to shine a light on it,” Clark told HR magazine. “Hopefully it becomes known that people are using this benefit and are enjoying it. We’ll then start to get a bit of momentum around it.”
She added: “It’s one thing having a policy, and it’s another thing encouraging take-up of that policy.”
Clark said that she had spoken to colleagues from other countries with similar legislation and was told that “it takes time”.
However, she reported several staff members had already expressed interest in taking shared leave. “We’ve had about 20 potential fathers who have told us they want to use it, and I think that number will grow,” she said.
SPL, which was introduced in April, gives parents more flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. Parents can share leave between them, and can decide to either be off work together or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after the child.
Clark called the legislation “potentially a fairly significant game changer in terms of equality”.
“It will take some time but it is a positive thing to encourage a more shared approach to parenting,” she added.
“I have spoken to a lot of women who wished it was around when they were having children, and fathers too. We discussed this at a very senior level and we spoke to the fathers in the room. One said: 'I wish this had been around in time for me, because I definitely would have used it.'”